An amateur detective brought a new suspect to the attention of the infamous D.B. Cooper's Skyjacking case, in which he says he is convinced that a man who interviewed the FBI in 2004 is the culprit.
Sheridan Peterson, now in his nineties and living in a California retirement community, is one of the few people who has tested the FBI for DNA against a clip-on band that the hijacker left behind.
Unlike the other DNA-tested suspects, the FBI never publicly cleared Peterson, according to amateur sleuth Eric Ulis, who believes Peterson is the man who earned $ 300,000 in ransom after skydiving from a commercial jet near Portland , Oregon in 1971.
Yet Peterson – who, according to Ulis within a few weeks of the daring hijacking of a Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 727 – came under FBI control – was rarely mentioned in public speculation about potential suspects.
A new theory suggests that D.B. Cooper (left in composite sketch) is actually Marine veteran and experienced skydiver Sheridan Peterson (right around the time of the 1971 hijacking)
Eric Ulis (above) has proposed a new likely landing zone along the Columbia River and says that he & # 39; 98 percent & # 39; is certain that Peterson is actually D.B. Cooper
Ulis, a Phoenix entrepreneur who is co-founder of the late Poker Reality show High Stakes Hold & # 39; em, told The Oregonian that he & # 39; 98 percent & # 39; is convinced that Peterson D.B. Cooper after years of investigation of the case.
Peterson served in the Marine Corps in World War II, and in particular was an avid skydiver and smoke jumper, the well-trained firefighters who catch parachutes in nature reserves.
He was even prone to idiosyncratic risk taking, such as experimenting with home-made bat wings.
In the early 1960s, Peterson worked for Boeing in Seattle as a technical editor. In 1966 he moved to Southeast Asia to work as a refugee adviser during the Vietnam War. His tax returns do not show a report of the employment from August 1970 to March 1973.
Within weeks of the November 24, 1971 hijacking, FBI agents showed up to interview Peterson's ex-wife at her high school counseling office in Bakersfield, California, Peterson revealed in an 2007 essay for the obscure trade publication Smoke jumper.
Asked if her ex-husband D.B. Cooper, she replied: & # 39; Yes, that sounded like something he would do. & # 39;
The notorious D.B. Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 (above) in 1971 and held his crew and passengers hostage at Seattle-Tacoma airport with a bomb until a ransom of $ 300,000 was paid
Peterson is seen in 1999. He is currently in his nineties and lives in a quiet retirement community in California
D.B. Cooper (left) has never been positively identified. Peterson is seen in 1976, five years after the daring hijacking of an airplane flying from Portland to Seattle
Peterson seemed to enjoy speculation that he might be the culprit, while writing in the essay that & # 39; the FBI had a good reason to suspect me & # 39 ;.
& # 39; At the time of the robbery, I was 44 years old. That was the estimated time that Cooper supposed to have been, and I was very much like the hijacker's sketches, & he wrote.
& # 39; But even more objectionable was the photo in which I simulated a skydiving maneuver for the Boeing news sheet. I wore a suit and tie – the same type of clothing that Cooper had worn, up to the Oxford loafers. It was noted that paratroopers do not usually dress formally, & Peterson continued.
But for three decades, the FBI apparently lost track of Peterson, who often moved, including stints that lived in Saudi Arabia and Papua New Guinea
FBI interviews Peterson and takes DNA sample
In 2004, the then FBI Mary Jean Fryar was commissioned to interview Peterson, who was then 77 years old.
Fryar told the Oregonian that she has no idea why the Bureau took so long to interview Peterson.
& # 39; He was a charming guy, & # 39; she remembered from the interview. & # 39; He had a lot of knowledge about the jump off the plane because he had been a smoker. And he was clearly interested in the case. & # 39;
& # 39; I think it gives him a kick, attention, & # 39; Fryar added, saying that Peterson seemed to have been treated as a suspect in the D.B. Cooper case.
During the hijacking, Cooper wore this black J.C. Penney tie, which he removed before he jumped. The FBI has recovered DNA from the badger, although it is unknown whether the DNA is Cooper. An FBI agent collected Peterson's DNA but was never told if it was a match
But Peterson said he lived in a mud hut in Nepal at the time of skyjacking and was living on a & # 39; protest novel & # 39; worked on his experiences in Vietnam. (Peterson eventually published a fictionalized account in 2018, entitled The Idiot & # 39; s Terrifying smile.)
The interview was Fryar's first and last contact with the case. She says she didn't even hear if the DNA sample she took from Peterson was a match with Cooper's tie.
Ulis, who has spent years investigating the case, says that he spoke to Peterson by telephone a few years ago and exchanged several emails with him.
& # 39; He told me he was radicalized when he was in Vietnam (refugee assistance), & # 39; says Ulis and suggests a possible motive. & # 39; What he describes as atrocities by American soldiers radicalized him. I think he just snarled. He found that he had no job and did not think he owed anything to American society. & # 39;
Peterson never gave interviews, although in his 2007 essay he denied D.B. Cooper and claimed to have proof that he was in Nepal around the time of the crime. He could not be reached by DailyMail.com.
New theory about Cooper & # 39; s Landing Zone
Ulis also believes he has discovered a crucial error in the first search of the FBI for Cooper.
After accurately analyzing wind speeds, & # 39; free fall & # 39; data and other information, Ulis believes the FBI is the & # 39; jump zone & # 39; wrongly identified and that Cooper would probably have most likely ended up on Bachelor Island in the Columbia River.
Bachelor Island is located a few miles north of Tena Bar, a sandy beach on the riverbank where more than $ 5800 was discovered buried in 1980.
Ullis believes Cooper has landed on Bachelor Island, a few miles from the original jumping zone, searched by the FBI in the weeks after the Skyjacking
The bills had serial numbers that corresponded to the ransom in the Cooper case, and were still wrapped in the original rubber bands from 1971.
Ulis believes his calculations show that Bachelor Island would probably have been the landing spot after dropping money at Tena Bar.
Cooper is known to have mounted a spare parachute bag in the jury to carry the money for the jump after he has discovered that the bank bag in which he was delivered has not been closed.
Ulis has made expeditions from Arizona to Bachelor Island to search for Cooper's discarded parachute.
& # 39; He would not have brought it with him. It's here. I feel that there is something here. We just have to find it, & he told the Oregonian on a recent trip.
This weekend Ulis leads one guided boat trip to Tena Bar.
Part of the money that was paid to the legendary hijacker D.B. Cooper in 1971 is shown during an F.B.I. press conference, 12 February 1980, after it was discovered in the Tena Bar
Fryar, the retired FBI agent, believes that the & # 39; case will never be resolved & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Which is sad, & # 39; she said. & # 39; Unless he confesses. & # 39;
Peterson presented his own theory about what happened to Cooper in his 2007 essay.
& # 39; D.B. did everything wrong, & he wrote. & # 39; As far as we know, he did not have an altimeter or stopwatch and, moreover, he clearly had no idea what the height of the terrain was. That is why he would not know when to pull the cords. & # 39;
& # 39; There was also a wind of eighteen knots. Because he was not a parachutist, he probably opened the parachute immediately, and at 10,000 feet the wind may have carried him 30 miles across the Columbia River. I assume there would be a descent over the river that sucks it into the water, & Peterson said.
But, in the FBI interview asked if he would have survived the jump, Peterson replied: & # 39; Absolutely. & # 39;
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